EDITORIAL: Be prepared for a bigger tax hit

CRD board's decision to further dry biosolids in sewage treatment process added $38 million to price tag

Like any big infrastructure project, the $783-million price tag for the Capital Regional District’s sewage treatment project, recently rebranded as Seaterra, is a floating target.

The CRD is nonetheless moving forward with this budget number to gauge bids from contractors hoping to build elements of the system. It’s the basis for the one-third funding from each of the provincial and federal governments and from properties to be using the Greater Victoria sewer system.

Seaterra program director Albert Sweetnam told a Black Press editorial board that the real cost is expected to be plus or minus 25 per cent of the budget.

That’s nearly $196 million either way, and previous provincial projects suggest the costs will migrate only one way: upward.

We don’t want to sound like Henny Penny, crying that the sky is falling, but a chunk of that plus-or-minus buffer has already been accounted for. This, a few years before the vast majority of construction on this massive project is scheduled to begin.

The CRD board last week bumped up the treatment project cost by $38 million with its decision to not allow biosolids fertilizer created in the CRD to be used in the CRD. Seaterra said its hand is forced to plan for a resource recovery centre at Hartland Landfill that is required to do a lot more than originally budgeted.

The CRD board’s somewhat baffling decision shows just how easy it is for millions to be tacked on to a project’s budget.

Taxpayers in the core municipalities are on the hook for any cost overruns above $783 million, and senior government contributions don’t include a 25-per-cent buffer.

Some municipal jurisdictions have already begun billing for sewage treatment as a way to spread out the tax burden.

It seems now there’s a good chance that burden may have to be spread out longer than originally expected for a project that is substantially more expensive, while barely out of the gates.

Just Posted

Mainly cloudy skies ahead for Friday

Plus a look ahead at your weekend

Expect delays as Highway 1 widening in Langford begins this month

Year-long project to widen, add meridians between West Shore Parkway and Leigh Road

Ivy pull, beach clean-up targeted for McNeill Bay

Volunteers aim for big Saturday to restore McNeill Bay

VicPD investigates stabbing near Selkirk Montessori school

Victim in potentially life-threatening condition

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Crime Stoppers most wanted for Greater Victoria for the week of September 17

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Should the province step in to upgrade the road to Bamfield?

The death of two University of Victoria students on a bus bound… Continue reading

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

Island contestant competes on Great Canadian Baking Show

Andrea Nauta auditioned for the show before but was lucky second time around

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

Most Read